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About two years ago, I tried to sit down & actually figure out how in the world my group's sorcery rules worked. After all, I'd played a sorcerer using them for two to three years at that point, and had a friend who had been using them for about a year as well (and who I helped teach the system). How hard could it be?

Very, very hard, it turned out. Our current group plays mostly-RQG, but we've taken to calling that game's rules "RuneQuest Bastard" for a reason. They were a mishmash of official stuff, house rules, and things my friends & I didn't know were house rules which had accumulated from about a decade of play through our GM friend's teen years. Loads of fun, but very much an "oral" rulebook.

I never did finish that project to write up the sorcery system, and recently I've come to the conclusion that I'll never finish the stupid thing despite the amount of work I'd put in. I'd intended to upload it here from the start so others could see how we did things, and since I've accepted I'll never finish it, I figured I may as well go ahead and upload it anyway. I suspect that, to play it, you'll need to be the same certain special breed of masochist my friends and I are, but I hope that it will at least be interesting for someone.

Scholastic Sorcery is an awful Frankenstein's Monster mishmash of the sorcery in RQ3's "Magic Book", Sandy Petersen's Western Sorcery, and his Tekumel Sorcery. It overlays the Tsolyanu of Tekumel as Patrons of Sorcery within Glorantha, organized into two general canons: the Saints of Stability, and the Demons of Change. As the introduction notes, most of the mechanics are not my ideas, but a fair bit of the fluff is. A lot of my work was editorial, trying to organize and make sense of multiple rulesets I initially believed were compatible, and later discovered are not. An example of this is that RQ3 (and SS) treats the Duration Art as a skill, whereas Petersen's Western Sorcery, which provides the core ruleset of SS, has no concept of using both Presence and Duration. Scholastic Sorcery works well as a ruleset for adventurers. Our game was pretty murderhobo, and the rules do reflect that. It treats sorcerers as being individualists; they're organized into colleges and schools and whatnot, but are ultimately not as community-minded as other magic systems.

For current players of RQG, I think the spell writeups (which are about the last fifty pages of the document) will be of most use. I don't think they'll translate directly into RQG's sorcery, but the Tekumel spells provide a great example of cool flavorful sorcery spells which go beyond what both Rune magic and spirit magic tend to do, both in power and complexity. The spells are incomplete (I got to the start of the P's alphabetically), but what's there should, I hope, be interesting. You can find the rest of Petersen's RuneQuest Tekumel stuff on the tekumel.com site here.

For people interested in the rules themselves, I beg forgiveness! This was the first time I attempted writing game rules, and I feel they're still rather haphazard. Having re-skimmed the document, examples use rules found later in the text and the organization of material's kind of a mess. Apart from the writing, the rules themselves really need more chopping at to be cleaned up and tidied. The stitches on my Monster show all over the place. But the rules portion is basically complete, albeit in a first-draft form.

I have ideas for a similar sorcery system for RQG, using the Runes and Techniques of RQG's sorcery as the basis, and introducing skill and manipulation because I frankly can't stand Free INT rules. But if I ever do write that up, it'll probably not be soon. If you wanted to play a Scholastic Sorcerer in RQG, I'd loosely suggest starting with the Philosopher occupation, and base the starting point for Arts and Vows on the Student tier, replacing the adventurer's cult. I make no claims that any of that procedure--or use of Scholastic Sorcery in general--will create a Fun and Balanced play environment in an RQG game.

My only true regret is that I never got to fumble and TPK my party with a Doomkill.

 

Scholastic Sorcery Spell List.doc Scholastic Sorcery.doc

Edited by Crel
Re-uploading files.
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About two years ago, I tried to sit down & actually figure out how in the world my group's sorcery rules worked. After all, I'd played a sorcerer using them for two to three years at that point, a

Correct. These editions were legit. RuneQuest 6, now Mythras, is a beautiful game and the company, the Design Mechanism (not Mongoose Design), is under the helm of stellar game designers Lawrence "Loz

OMG downloaded the rules; hope to find some time during my hols to read them.

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12 hours ago, Crel said:

1/ I never did finish that project to write up the sorcery system, and recently I've come to the conclusion that I'll never finish the stupid thing despite the amount of work I'd put in.

2/ Scholastic Sorcery is an awful Frankenstein's Monster mishmash of the sorcery in RQ3's "Magic Book", Sandy Petersen's Western Sorcery, and his Tekumel Sorcery.

3/ Our game was pretty murderhobo, and the rules do reflect that. It treats sorcerers as being individualists;

4/ For people interested in the rules themselves, I beg forgiveness!

5/ Apart from the writing, the rules themselves really need more chopping at to be cleaned up and tidied. The stitches on my Monster show all over the place. But the rules portion is basically complete, albeit in a first-draft form.

6/ I have ideas for a similar sorcery system for RQG, using the Runes and Techniques of RQG's sorcery as the basis, and introducing skill and manipulation because I frankly can't stand Free INT rules.

7/ My only true regret is that I never got to fumble and TPK my party with a Doomkill.

After a brief check and speed read :

1/ No one ever finish a set of rules ... RuneQuest : 7 versions, hundreds of variants and still going 🙃

2/ Yep a big Monster, I nearly got swallowed after reading 0.001% of the pages ... 😱

3/ So a good Vadeli set up school, Pentallion should love it ! 😈

4/ We always have forgiveness, but we will still walk with a big club enchanted with hundred the boon of KT 😜🤣

5/ Yep, clearly... you need to decimate it at least twenty times. No ... sincerely, if your rules are longer than the original : simplify it. Spells list can take a lot of pages about 3-5 spells per page is ok. Cults/schools context, description and setting (without rules) can take a lot of place, the more pages the better. My very best advice : All Rules may be resume in one Recto and magic sheet for player in One verso, if you can't : restart ! 🧐

Personally, your magic is not very Glorantha (not like HQ sorcery, which may not be canon but still the best official one about schools of magic and Magic plane description) but a bit reskin, a very big simplifying will greatly help. For the abilities part, you should take model on shaman abilities, it's simple clear and efficient way to present it. The organisation in 5 level is good but you need more flexibility (a big ability should be obtainable by another mean apart from levelling only). The simpler, the more flexible your rules are, the better they will be !

6/ We all hate the Free INT and we all just ignored / banned / forgot  them. Free INT !? what free int ? 🤨😇

7/ Why ... you never cheated ? Even I sometime cheat... usually not for doing a better score 😇

 

Edit : a bit mispell, underscored. Hope the advice could help you ^^

Edited by MJ Sadique
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17 hours ago, GianniVacca said:

OMG downloaded the rules; hope to find some time during my hols to read them.

Hope you enjoy them, or at least find them entertaining/amusing. :)

15 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Creating rule systems is hard.

Yep. I had enormous fun writing this project, but I think that's because I never ended up doing a major revision on it. :D

10 hours ago, MJ Sadique said:

Personally, your magic is not very Glorantha

YGMV. ;)

10 hours ago, MJ Sadique said:

Spells list can take a lot of pages about 3-5 spells per page is ok.

One of our collective frustrations with the documents I worked from was unclear spell descriptions (which, to be fair, as I worked I discovered was about 50% the prior documents' fault, and 50% our house rules transforming a perfectly fine spell entry into confusion). One of our collective joys was having that gigantic list of spells to peruse and consider learning. Something I'm conflicted on with RQG's sorcery is that a sorcerer can't learn EVERYTHING anymore. It's interesting and more thematic, but for us part of the fun was having the party sorcerers be really the ultimate utility caster. RQG's hard cap on how many Runes you can master removes that, and whether I feel positive or negative about it kind of depends on my mood.

10 hours ago, MJ Sadique said:

boon of KT

Boon of Kargan Tor is a great example of what RQG Sorcery does much better than our game did. Instead of the generic spell "Boost Damage", you're Summoning Death upon a weapon. Much more exciting and imaginatively engaging. If I did/do a rewrite, one of the goals will be to reduce the amount of generic spells.

10 hours ago, MJ Sadique said:

Yep, clearly... you need to decimate it at least twenty times. No ... sincerely, if your rules are longer than the original : simplify it.

I disagree. In part, these do come about because I was trying to figure out how we were actually playing, which leads to why they're such a bad mess, and need to be cut down heavily. But I don't think a (perhaps) over-thorough explanation is bad. Comprehensively explained & defined rules are, in my opinion, important.

Plus, for me, at least, the complexity was part of the fun :D. I think that was true for the player of Jeb (who gets used in some of the rules examples) as well. There's something about the big, complex system with all the obnoxious math I'd have to hurry to do between my turns which made it feel like "I'm doing magic!"

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This is clearly an evolution of Sandy Petersen's rules, isn't it ? Could you summarize the differences between your rules and Mr Petersen's, please ? I honestly don't have the courage to read through your rules just to figure out what is different.  😓

Concerning "flavorful" versus "generic" spells, I like how Mage:the Awakening or Ars Magica work in this regard, where magicians have access to very generic effects, but casting specific spells is quicker and far more effective. 

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28 minutes ago, Mugen said:

This is clearly an evolution of Sandy Petersen's rules, isn't it ? Could you summarize the differences between your rules and Mr Petersen's, please ? I honestly don't have the courage to read through your rules just to figure out what is different.  😓

Yeah, it's explicitly based on Petersen's sorcery. :) If you're familiar with his Western Sorcery, the basic spellcasting procedures are similar.

In the original, Arts are similar to RQG's Runes & Techniques: you either know them, or you don't. Petersen has you gaining arts through worship of Saint Malkion, one Art per year, sacrificing a point of POW and gaining the Art. The sorcerer has an attribute called Presence, which is generated through swearing Vows. Your Presence is like your Free INT in RQ3's generic sorcery. A notable difference is that Petersen's sorcery removes Duration. You fill your Presence with Art Levels of various spells, and they're just always there. You're also restricted in how many Art Levels of a spell you can use by your skill percentage in that spell.

The way we played, Duration was still an Art, and all the Arts were skills with a percentage, instead of a binary YES/NO. Once you hit 90%+ in an Art it no longer restricts how you can manipulate a spell, but your skill with a given spell always limits you. Having Duration as an Art, but not really "baked into" the system was a major element in making the whole thing go sideways. We also played that Presence worked differently--it wasn't capped by total levels of spells in play, but by how many individual Arts were being used in those spells. Although we used the Tekumel entities as demons & saints for different colleges of sorcery, they weren't as integral to the system as they are in Petersen's.

A major "D'oh!" moment for me was when I finally discovered Petersen's saints document when researching and trying to find his actual core rules, apart from the bastardizations our game started with.

One of the cool things we liked was that a sorcerer with a good bit of Presence could use it with the Hold Art to have prepared spells. With the lower requirements on how much Presence a single spell took, the main use for us of growing more and more Presence was to be able to prepare more spells for insta-cast. Coming from a Pathfinder background, it was fun for us to see a caster slowly becoming a classic D&D-style wizard, and to have the wizard's notion of preparing spells and spell slots mechanically represented in what felt, to me, to be a more organic way.

TLDR I suppose the differences boil down to that it's less built into a "cults"-like system like Petersen's, and more focused on "sorcery is a skill." Anyone can learn it, hypothetically, although your priest or your god may have some words about that.

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49 minutes ago, Mugen said:

Concerning "flavorful" versus "generic" spells, I like how Mage:the Awakening or Ars Magica work in this regard, where magicians have access to very generic effects, but casting specific spells is quicker and far more effective.

Ars Magica's in my reading stack! :) Its position tends to vary each time I return to the Stack and decide what to read next. I've heard tons of good things about the system.

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Just now, Crel said:

In the original, Arts are similar to RQG's Runes & Techniques: you either know them, or you don't. (..) all the Arts were skills with a percentage, instead of a binary YES/NO.

As far as i understood these rules, Arts were also skills in Petersen's rules.

Just now, Crel said:

One of the cool things we liked was that a sorcerer with a good bit of Presence could use it with the Hold Art to have prepared spells. With the lower requirements on how much Presence a single spell took, the main use for us of growing more and more Presence was to be able to prepare more spells for insta-cast. Coming from a Pathfinder background, it was fun for us to see a caster slowly becoming a classic D&D-style wizard, and to have the wizard's notion of preparing spells and spell slots mechanically represented in what felt, to me, to be a more organic way.

Yes, that was a really good way to do D&D-like magic. :D

In general, I loved how those rules allowed for many magical tricks, but it was a little too complex, I think. However, whenever I think of a magic system, I have it in mind.

Thank you for taking the time to explain all those differences. :)

 

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1 minute ago, Mugen said:

Thank you for taking the time to explain all those differences. :)

My pleasure! It's totally valid to not wanna read my Monster.

2 minutes ago, Mugen said:

Yes, that was a really good way to do D&D-like magic. :D

If you want that vibe in RQG, go check out Issaries. Spell Trading is really, really good. You don't lose the spell anymore, and the Rune points spent just come back as usual when you worship (I've ruled that if you trade an extended spell, it doesn't come until the extended duration ends, based on when you "cast" the spell to trade it; I think this is a natural consequence of the Extension rules in Rune Fixes #1, but it is technically a house rule). In my Glorantha, Rune Priests of Issaries are often handled like D&D wizards—people tend to leave 'em alone because you're not exactly sure what magic they're capable of. Mostly benign, sure, but I'm sure many Trader Princes are carrying around a Thunderbolt or two for a rainy day.

I've also been tinkering with some metamagical sorcery ideas for RQG, that let you turn your Free INT into a held spell, basically.

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17 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

A friend and I (sadly Jim died a couple of years ago) created an extension to Sandy's rules to deal with non-Malkioni sorcery that got rid of vows. Sandy hated it. Specifically the idea that as you gain magical power you forego your free will is specifically countered in these rules.

http://www.hibbs.me.uk/snarks/meldeksorcerors.html#Top

I remember stumbling across your site when trying to figure out what the sorcery rules actually were, as opposed to what we had turned them into. There's a lot of interesting stuff there. I appreciate you hosting Sandy's stuff too—I think it was your site that I drew un-messed-with "Sandy's Sorcery" documents from.

My friend's solution to the "learn Intensity to get Presence?" thing was to make the Vessel be the sorcerer's first vow, then swear the High Vow once you got a sorcery skill to 90%. It was part of trying to make my basically-RQ3 sorcerer with low Arts fit into the Western framework, and still have been able to do the sorts of spells he had been casting.

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If I wanted to re-work Sorcery rules, I think I would, too, get rid of vows myself, and base Presence on INT and some other factors, such as the magical skills value, and perhaps POW.

I would also have fewer skills, perhaps just one per Rune. Spell knowledge would be all or nothing : you either know it, or not. Spontaneous casting without knowledge of a spell would be possible, but with limitations. Surely a lower Art total limit (skill/20 instead of skill/10), perhaps only 1 Art level per 2 MP, and perhaps longer casting time.

Perhaps a system where you "build" a spell progressively, and each casting action costs MPs and adds Arts level to the total, but also makes the next action more difficult.

I would also make the whole system less dependant on huge MP storages.

Edited by Mugen
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On 7/8/2020 at 2:24 PM, Crel said:

RQG's hard cap on how many Runes you can master removes that, and whether I feel positive or negative about it kind of depends on my mood.

It'll be a soft cap... There will be ways to bypass it, e.g. Heroquesting (add some points to effective INT for Techniques or Runes, it get a "free" Technique or Rune that doesn't take up INT...)

ETA: or a new enchantment - Enchant Rune... Which would be like a spell, but gives you access to the Rune if you haven't Mastered it... 

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My impression at the time, back when I was playtesting RQ3, was that the IMHO dreadful RQ3 sorcery rules were Charlie Krank's idea not Sandy's. Could be wrong. During the long forgotten early '90s "RQ4" Chaosium project, which I am one of the few people who actually ran an RQ4 campaign out of, I wrote up my own suggested new sorcery rules, which I sent to those in charge of said long forgotten project. Though the basic idea is different, as my version bases sorcery on knowledge of the world in a rather "earth" sense, whereas RQG sorcery is based on the building blocks of Glorantha instead, namely the runes, I see the basic idea as parallel to mine. Anyway, here it is.SORCERY for RQ4.pdf

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1 hour ago, Glorion said:

IMHO dreadful RQ3 sorcery rules were Charlie Krank's idea not Sandy's.

I don't know who was behind the RQ3 sorcery rules as published by Avalon Hill. Sandy published a set of Western Sorcery rules which riffed off those (kinda). I consider his Western rules to be the "core" doc for what we ended up playing about twenty years later. Sandy's sorcery is, I think, hosted on Phil Hibb's site that he linked above, if you want to check it out.

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On 7/10/2020 at 2:08 PM, Crel said:

I don't know who was behind the RQ3 sorcery rules as published by Avalon Hill. Sandy published a set of Western Sorcery rules which riffed off those (kinda). I consider his Western rules to be the "core" doc for what we ended up playing about twenty years later. Sandy's sorcery is, I think, hosted on Phil Hibb's site that he linked above, if you want to check it out.

Well, now we're in RQ5, and RQ3 is pretty much ancient history, "RQ4" even more so. Glad to know that Sandy was dissatisfied with the RQ3 sorcery rules too. Did he do something about Free INT? In our house campaign, we play with the RQ5 sorcery rules, in theory at least, as none of my players think that an RQ5 sorceror is any good until after 5-6 years of training, and none of them are that patient. One mod, namely that in my book, you can know as many sorcery spells as your INT minus spirit spells without cutting down on "free INT," which I've never liked much anyway. Though it ain't quite as annoying in RQG as in RQ3. The whole business of learning and forgetting sorcery spells to make RQG sorcery work strikes me as a silly crutch to make a foolish rule work.

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5 hours ago, Glorion said:

Well, now we're in RQ5, and RQ3 is pretty much ancient history, "RQ4" even more so.

No man, you are very far from the count, NOW we are at RuneQuest 7 ... SEVEN, officially named RQ-G because it's a fork from RQ2 as much as RQ3.

7 hours ago, Glorion said:

The whole business of learning and forgetting sorcery spells to make RQG sorcery work strikes me as a silly crutch to make a foolish rule work.

Yeah,

Having spirits limiting your spells numbers and Sorcery max intensity is a big bother enough, no need to cumulate it with your sorcery spell list. And moreover the to spell augment INT act as a patch to just counter this whole limitations -contradictions, contradictions...-

If my memory is not failing me the mechanic, based on The concept of Palace of Memory technique, was one of Sandy's ideas where sorcerers could know more spells than what their INT permits. It also permit to store spells and knowledge (like skills, runes and sorcery techniques) without the need to permanently lose the ability to cast the spell (which was also one of RQ3 limitations); the concept in itself is good because you could know more spell than your INT as ritual and long duration spell don't need to be actively memorized !!!

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7 hours ago, Glorion said:

Did he do something about Free INT?

He nixed it entirely, and replaced it with something called Presence. Free INT still adds to your Presence in his Western Sorcery, but there's also several other factors. The main factor is the Presence gain from the High Vow of Sorcery which your character swears. This gives Presence equal to the character's Magic category modifier (minimum 0).

Your total Presence operates in an analogous way to RQ3's Free INT.

7 hours ago, Glorion said:

The whole business of learning and forgetting sorcery spells to make RQG sorcery work strikes me as a silly crutch to make a foolish rule work.

I think it's interesting. In the sorcery rules I was working on I had rules for writing grimoires (no relation to the HeroQuest rules) which fulfilled a similar role. I can't remember if I developed that before or after reading RQG, but it was one of a small number of my own actual additions to the ruleset, rather than editorial mucking about.

Even if you aren't using Free INT-based rules, I think some sort of rule in that manner is useful. For my gaming group, at least, one of the draws of sorcerers is their ability to learn a varied and strange mix of spells. Provided you're retaining total INT as a limit on the number of spells known, at some point you'll want to go beyond that number. Being able to temporarily remove a spell, and regain it at the same percentage later, helps keep the super-utility-caster feel.

I agree that using this as a workaround for Free INT-based sorcery still feels strange. I asked in the "Ask Jeff" thread about why Free INT models how Gloranthan sorcery operates, and got some answer about spirit magic pollution instead. I presume he misread my question (or maybe I phrased it badly--I'd have to go thread-diving), and since then haven't bothered trying to figure out what in some way feels "right" about that approach for the designers.

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4 hours ago, MJ Sadique said:

No man, you are very far from the count, NOW we are at RuneQuest 7 ... SEVEN, officially named RQ-G because it's a fork from RQ2 as much as RQ3.

Officially, this is "the fourth Chaosium edition" of RuneQuest.

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Edited by PhilHibbs
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13 hours ago, Crel said:

I think it's interesting. In the sorcery rules I was working on I had rules for writing grimoires (no relation to the HeroQuest rules) which fulfilled a similar role. I can't remember if I developed that before or after reading RQG, but it was one of a small number of my own actual additions to the ruleset, rather than editorial mucking about.

As I understand, that's supported by the RQG rules ("Inscribing Spells"), and if I remember correctly there are further rules for actual grimoires coming up in the GM guide or some other upcoming book. Are you still using some house rules in RQG right now or did you revert back to RAW for now?

Quote

Even if you aren't using Free INT-based rules, I think some sort of rule in that manner is useful. For my gaming group, at least, one of the draws of sorcerers is their ability to learn a varied and strange mix of spells. Provided you're retaining total INT as a limit on the number of spells known, at some point you'll want to go beyond that number. Being able to temporarily remove a spell, and regain it at the same percentage later, helps keep the super-utility-caster feel.

Yeah I think either way you need some kind of limit -- whether it's INT, or INT-minus-spirit-magic, or INT-minus-spirit-magic-and-sorcery depends on how out-of-the-box powerful you want sorcerers to be. Me, I like my sorcerers to be like alchemists and scientists, travelling with scrolls and trinkets in their pockets, rings on their fingers, etc... all with inscribed spells that took years to grow and grow in their labs and fancy towers, until now they can blast you away by touching one of their necklaces. A smaller Free INT gives an incentive to do that, although what sucks is that it costs POW and so far there aren't a lot of ways to get a POW gain roll when you're a pure sorcerer (it's OK for Lankhor Mhy sorcerers though since they get normal worship... but we don't have rules yet for the Invisible God and other stuff like that).

Basically, Ars Magica was inspired by RQ and it's only fair to return the favour decades later.

Quote

I agree that using this as a workaround for Free INT-based sorcery still feels strange. I asked in the "Ask Jeff" thread about why Free INT models how Gloranthan sorcery operates, and got some answer about spirit magic pollution instead. I presume he misread my question (or maybe I phrased it badly--I'd have to go thread-diving), and since then haven't bothered trying to figure out what in some way feels "right" about that approach for the designers.

How does the Free INT mechanic not accurately represent Gloranthan sorcery in your opinion?

Edited by lordabdul
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20 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Are you still using some house rules in RQG right now or did you revert back to RAW for now?

Our current game doesn't have a sorcerer. Basically, our RQ3 game didn't have Rune magic—we had a couple initiates, but only one person could be bothered to sacrifice for divine magic—so we've been playing more 'staple" RuneQuest this time around. We keep mucking over bringing sorcery back in when someone dies and considers new character options. I don't know exactly what we'll do.

21 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

How does the Free INT mechanic not accurately represent Gloranthan sorcery in your opinion?

I can't comment re:Glorantha. Or maybe I just don't really have a comment. But it feels really weird to me that the more sorcery you know, the worse you are at sorcery. If you know a ton of cool spells you can't use any meaningfully. I don't understand how some notion of "empty brainspace" translates for the designers to "I can use that to be really good at sorcery".

For me, it feels really natural that as your skill in a spell improves, the stuff you can do with that spell improves too. It feels intuitive—number goes up, do more cool stuff. I don't understand why in RQG's sorcery, if you get really good at a spell, it doesn't mean you understand that spell more (as measured by how much cool stuff you can do with it).

To me a skill-based sorcery system feels "obvious" in ways Free INT-based systems don't.

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Just for reference regarding something already mentioned: p391 "Most sorcerers learn techniques of memorization that allow them to “forget” active knowledge of a spell by placing it in a recessed part of their memory. It takes about an hour of meditation to try to forget a spell, and the sorcerer must succeed with a Meditate skill roll.Once a spell has been forgotten, the spell can be recalled through meditation. It takes about three hours of meditation to try to recall a spell and the sorcerer must succeed with a Meditate skill roll. The sorcerer must have enough Free INT to know the recalled spell."

 

For my 2cents worth, I don't have a big problem with the Free INT version of sorcery, particularly now we have Inscriptions that are easy to make. I can also bring in Spell Storing crystals, which for a sorcerer would be uber-awesome! They certainly fit thematically.

I do understand why having more sorcery spells in mind lowers your ability to manipulate them... They are deep, esoteric formulae that the Gloranthan mind would find difficult to keep straight and untangled. Consider languages - easy to misstep and use the wrong grammar or word. So move that to highly complex physics or chemistry (and keep in mind the magical nature of spells... Manipulating the universe), and you should see why Free INT is important. The fewer the number of formulae you need to focus on keeping in mind, the easier to play (manipulate) with them.

As for RQ3... At least we weren't limited in the number of skill checks you get... Now it's a petty little 5/season :(

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1 hour ago, Shiningbrow said:

I do understand why having more sorcery spells in mind lowers your ability to manipulate them... They are deep, esoteric formulae that the Gloranthan mind would find difficult to keep straight and untangled. Consider languages - easy to misstep and use the wrong grammar or word. So move that to highly complex physics or chemistry (and keep in mind the magical nature of spells... Manipulating the universe), and you should see why Free INT is important. The fewer the number of formulae you need to focus on keeping in mind, the easier to play (manipulate) with them.

To me, that comparison undermines your position. We have languages in RQ, and you can learn as many as you like even if you have an INT of 8. Similarly, to the extent that sciences exist in Glorantha there are Lore skills, and again - there is no limit to those based on INT. (You will be better at learning them if you're smart, sure, but you're not penalised for Speak Heortling if you also know Mineral Lore and Speak Seaspeech).

INT is not used as a limit for skills anywhere except for sorcery. So it's a fair question as to why that's the case, if indeed sorcery spells are "just" another type of skill you can learn. The analogous limit is CHA for spirit magic, where the more charismatic you are, the more spirits you can convince to hang around you and let you channel their magic; perhaps the Free INT really represents some sort of Lovecraftian insanity, whereby the more spells you memorise the harder it is to think at all - but then, one would have to wonder why it only affected your ability to cast sorcery spells.

I mean, the obvious "real" reason it's there is as a mechanical limit similar to the Rune Points and Spirit Magic caps. But it feels a lot more artificial than those, because while there is a hard limit to the number of spirit magic points you can "memorise" they do not otherwise reduce your ability to cast those spells (and similarly for Rune Points), whereas in effect Free INT does.

I'm not saying I have any ideas on how to change this , but where a powerful shaman is likely to have a full CHA worth of spells, a powerful priest is likely to have their full CHA of Rune Points, a powerful sorcerer will ideally have zero memorised sorcery spells and have all of his magic available via inscriptions. I can't be the only one who thinks that feels weird.

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12 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Officially, this is "the fourth Chaosium edition" of RuneQuest.

Good Joke PhilHibbs 🤣 , you can say the fouth CHAOSIUM but between 1993 and 2018 there was a bunch of Runequest, some having their name change at the last minute...
-Look at RuneQuest on French wiki, I the start you have a good table resuming you : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/RuneQuest#RuneQuest_7
-An moreover, Almost all GM know there is so much version that even RQ7 is not really enough to be describe the fork, but I understand that some want to forget MRQ or RQ-Slayers 😁

Back to the topic...

3 hours ago, lordabdul said:

How does the Free INT mechanic not accurately represent Gloranthan sorcery in your opinion

A very good question indeed, and two answers :
-First, Free Int rules in Kethaela give a good impression of what sorcery should be in a place full of spirit and gods. I'm perfectly fine with it and agree with you on this usage and view of Central-Glorantha-Sorcery. Having a weak sorcery in kethaelan and Dragon pass is fine to me and perfectly Glorantha
-Second one, I play mainly near Sog where the Essence plane is more accessible and Sorcery very common without the bother of tons of spirits and gods; And my Glorantha is mostly base on HQ1 for the triptych way to see magic. In this optic, FREE INT doesn't seem necessary and is much a bother to the play and represent Western Gloranthan Sorcery

In term of Setting, RQ-G Sorcery is fit for the campaign and Central Glorantha, it's a Greg-green-T-shirt Sorcey we see, but being far away for Dragon Pass I see Blue-T-Shirt and the description of the green one bother me. The Setting is perfect but does not correspond to where I am so I adapt it because no one can do this job (Chaosium team have already too much job and true sorcery is not mean to be fully describe for the Orlanthi campaign)

1 hour ago, GAZZA said:

I can't be the only one who thinks that feels weird.

No, you're far from the only one !

In term of Rule Design, I don't like the FREE INT limitation because there is a Augment-INT spell ( Having a INT nerf and a INT boost is bad design !!! ). I would have understand, If the spell could just rise you FREE INT within you INT limit. But a spell which rise your FREE INT from 12 to 17 with 2 cast (+4 INT : 16, +5 INT : 17)... this is the wrong way to do it.
-INT limiting your Runes + Techniques seems fairs
-INT limiting spells number is normal (same design for all magic)
-INT being limiting by another magic but not the inverse

Like GAZZA mentionned it : It's a clear (and good) NERF to avoid Animism + Sorcery but with Spirit's spell-matrix-enchantement you can still attain it, an unusefull limitation. A flat malus may have been simpler : Malus of 5% per spirit magic or Strongest passion always kick in (because Zabur is know to have "He defeated Five Secret Assassins: Love, Fear, Hate, Desire and Judgement"). No need for a enhance-INT spell and the Logician spell to counter spirit and passion is more Gloranthan and enough.

In term of Play, Another BIG reasons, I don't like FREE INT is because it give you the wrong idea that you hero is STUPID. Why !? Simply because an average man is 1,70m + 70Kg (STR/SIZ 12) and the Monstrous Catcher Undertaker should be STR/SIZ 20. NOW, look at a your 18 INT Sorcerer with 8 sorcery spells and 1-6 spirit magic pts, does he really feel to be this Monstruously Clever ...
 

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